Micro safari: live plankton sketching with Pacific Plankton (Video)
The Monterey Bay Journal Club had a special guest: Janai Southworth, host of PacificPlankton who shared microscope views of live plankton from the waters of San Francisco Bay.
Plankton are tiny organisms that drift in the ocean. They come in a rich diversity of shapes, colors, and sizes. Janai guided us through the amazing wondrous wildlife living in a few drops of seawater.
What are plankton?
Plankton are living organisms that are unable to swim against a current. Their name plankton comes from ‘Planktos’ meaning “wanderer”.
Plankton is divided into to large groups: 1.) Phytoplankton /fitoh-plankton/ are plant-like, and do photosynthesis. 2.) Zooplankton /zoh-plankton/ are animals that are predators- they eat phytoplankton and/or other zooplankton.
Phytoplankton is the base of marine food webs, meaning that they provide energy as food for marine animals. Because they do photosynthesis- making food for themselves for growth- the take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in the process. And we like oxygen!
In fact, marine phytoplankton provide us with most of the oxygen we breathe- way more that trees and shrubs and other land plants! Scientists estimate 50-80% of the planet’s oxygen is made by phytoplankton!!
Wow! So take a deep breath now, and thank these microscopic friends!
Recording of nature journal field trip
Watch the recording to see a sample of marine plankton from San Francisco Bay, and learn how to record them in your nature journal!
How to connect with Janai and PacificPlankton
You can visit PacificPlankton on Twitch here.
And photos of plankton on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pacificplankton/?hl=en